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Pains of Youth
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Make Believe (Tour - Manchester)

Bravo

By • Off-West End
WOS Rating:
Reviewed at Freedom Bar, London Bravo, presented by new musicals initiative A Stage Kindly, is a cabaret-style evening showcasing new musicals from writers around the world. Held in the basement of Freedom Bar Soho, this intimate space is well suited to an evening of musical treats. The four main singers - Charlotte Donald, Arabella Rodrigo, Adam Bayjou, and Frank Loman - generally do justice to a range of songs which covered everything from cyborgs, to prostitutes and even chiropractors. Singing without context and without the help of props, costumes or context, all the performers do well to fill their songs with character and emotion. I particularly enjoyed the naughtiness of Charlotte Donald singing “It’s Not Like I Thought It Would Be” and the real emotion in “I’m Not in Love With Her” sung by Frank Loman. The group songs are also well-balanced, the pick being “Still Human Where It Counts”, from musical-in-development Rock Heaven. Arabella Roderigo’s vocal range is impressive, especially in the show’s opening number - aptly named “I Can Sing” - while Adam Bayjou plays timid and strong with equal skill. Only a few tweaks would improve the evening greatly. While the show is well-paced and covers a huge number of songs it would benefit from a little more information on each new musical, even if only provided in the programme. Also, while it's a nice gesture to have all the singers on stage, at times this breeds palpable disengagement among the inactive performers. All in all however Bravo constitutes an enjoyable evening and Katy Lipson and Giles Howe, the founders of this initiative, should be congratulated for providing new international writers an opportunity to have their music heard. - Laura Norman

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